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Extended Stay Hotels: Making a Comeback

If you are forced to live in a hotel (even a very nice one) for an extended stay, you begin to miss the simple amenities of home: a working kitchen, a living room, space to stow things, and enough room to move around.

When my husband and I moved from the Washington, DC area to New York, we weren’t able to synchronize the timing of the move out of our old house with the move into the new one. We had few options. Our son needed to start in his new school so we couldn’t delay the move. Aside from being costly, a hotel room didn’t seem feasible for a month-long stay. We were fortunate to find an extended stay hotel about twenty minutes from our new neighborhood to tide us over.

The laundry room in the basement could provide enough fodder for a novel. I met every type of dislocated person in transition: recent divorcees, people whose real estate deals had fallen through, people relocated for temporary work assignments or training, and people caring for ailing relatives at a nearby hospital. For each of them, a hotel designed and intended for longer stays was a blessing.

Now, with the general economy slowly improving and business travel incrementally bouncing back, many travellers are taking advantage of extended stays for bleisure travel: trips that combine business with pleasure. They add vacation days or weeks to their business trips, often bringing family or friends with them.

There are at least seven large hotel chains in North America that offer extended stay options. One of them, Homewood Suites by Hilton, has 323 such properties across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with another 70 additional ones in the pipeline.

To contemporize the concept of extended stay, Homewood Suites is rolling out a “Take Flight” initiative to retrofit their inventory of suite hotels to be even more appealing to today’s traveller. The innovations include:

  • Introducing a zoned living-room style lobby area that fosters togetherness as well as opportunities for privacy in a communal space;
  • Upgrading business centers so they feel more office-like;
  • Enhancing rooms with upgraded bedding, homelike media centers and California-like closets;
  • Creating outdoor kitchens for barbeques and gatherings in recreational areas;
  • Providing the option of free grocery shopping to stock kitchens;
  • Other freebees: Wi-Fi, daily newspaper delivery, full breakfasts, and complimentary beer and wine at dinnertime Monday through Thursdays.

The Homewood Suites Memphis-Poplar, the flagship property of the “Take Flight” program, has recently undergone a total renovation showcasing the new standards and enhancements to make extended stays away from home as comfortable as possible.

One of the things I learned about staying in an extended stay hotel is that guests make fast friends with their neighbors: Everyone is in the same proverbial boat.

 

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  • “Our trip was great! The hotel was wonderful, the staff was superb, and the help from your company was terrific! We will definitely keep you in mind for our next trip and will not hesitate to recommend you to anyone. Thank you for the great help and patience!”

    S.R., Layton, UT

  • “Everything was very straight forward, there were many timely responses that saved me a great deal of time. Thank you.”

    M.D., Palm Springs, CA

  • Everything worked out great. We are at the end of our season, but I will definitely use you in the future for my travels needs for 2007. The rates you gave were very competitive–better than ones that I get online or over the phone.

    V.V., Blacksburg, VA

  • “Your system is very friendly to the customer and understandable from the very first page. Thank you again for your program and system.”

    D.P., Rockford, IL

  • My name is Joey Tovar and I own a windmill construction company. I used Extended Stayer twice now for my employees- once in California and once in Texas. I can honestly say that I have saved hundreds of dollars by using Extended Stayer. We used to pay whatever expedia and hotels.com charged but with extended stayer hotels are knocking down their price by 20-30% off those rates because we stay months at a time.

    J.T., Colorado Springs, CO

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